Buffalo Grove medical marijuana dispensary helps patients apply for treatment

  • Ellen Siegel of Buffalo Grove is assisted in registration by Stuart Gimbel of Professional Dispensaries of Illinois during a credentialing event Saturday in Deerfield.

      Ellen Siegel of Buffalo Grove is assisted in registration by Stuart Gimbel of Professional Dispensaries of Illinois during a credentialing event Saturday in Deerfield. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted10/25/2015 7:45 AM

Applying to receive medical marijuana as a patient can be a confusing process, especially for people who are sick, says pharmacist Mark Mandel.

In an effort to mitigate the problems patients might face in submitting applications for the Illinois Medical Cannabis Card, Mandel and pharmacist Joseph Friedman hosted an event Saturday to help patients apply for the card.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Medical professionals were on-site to answer patients' questions, help them fill out applications and provide fingerprinting and shoot passport photographs, which are both required pieces of the application.

The pair plan to open Buffalo Grove's first medical marijuana dispensary in November and want to make sure patients are getting the help they need.

"Only about 10 to 15 percent of those who have applied for the license have done it appropriately," Mandel said.

Mandel and Friedman are hoping that by helping patients with the multi-step process, they will become regulars at their dispensary, Professional Dispensaries of Illinois.

"Hopefully we can establish a relationship with the patients and they will trust us for their cannabis products," Mandel said.

The credentialing event ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mark Drugs in Deerfield, and as of 1:30 p.m. about 50 patients had stopped by.

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The event was also open to area physicians who may not know much about medical marijuana.

A physician confirms the patient's diagnosis, Mandel says, and if they don't understand the uses of medical marijuana, they may hesitate to "stick their neck out" and suggest it as a possible treatment.

"It's one therapy that, yes, is very controversial because of the social uses and misuses, but it's a therapy many patients would benefit from," said David Zeiger, a physician who attended Saturday's event.

The Buffalo Grove dispensary will be located at 1623 Barclay Blvd., and Mandel expects to help about four patients per day when it opens.

He says they base projections on the area's population and national disease statistics.

"Eventually we project our patient base could be 2,000 or more," Mandel said.

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